Q&A: Neil Pickering, Head of Industry and Content Marketing at UKG


Neil is an IT veteran and an evangelist of the performance transformation benefits of workforce and human capital management solutions. Working closely with customers throughout the supply chain, he witnesses first-hand the employee engagement, cost, productivity and compliance benefits achieved through effective alignment. people and workforce technology. Neil is one of this year’s speakers RETAIL HR SUMMIT September 21 in London.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I am Industry and Content Marketing Manager at UKG, specializing in retail. I’ve worked in the software technology industry for over 25 years, and UKG (the merger of Kronos and Ultimate Software) for over 17 years.

My experiences span multiple roles, marketing, sales, pre-sales and alliance management, and each is focused on understanding and meeting the needs of our customers. I take great pleasure in partnering with our impressive list of retail clients, which includes: The Co-operative Group, Sainsbury’s, Midcounties and Central England Co-op, TJX, adidas and Home Bargain… just to name a few. -ones. It’s gratifying to hear how these organizations are using technology to improve the employee experience and business performance.

What does your business do? / What is your USP?

On April 1, 2020, Ultimate Software and Kronos merged to create one of the largest global players in the HCM market. With over 70 years of combined experience in developing and delivering industry-leading workforce management, HR service delivery (HRSD) and HR solutions, UKG is able to deliver even greater benefits to its customers.

Our first cloud-based and mobile solutions help retailers optimize the performance of their most valuable asset: their people. We make it easier for HR and operations teams to achieve their goals and objectives through essential human processes, improving cost control, productivity, compliance and employee engagement.

On average, our customers save between 3% and 5% of their annual payroll using UKG technology.

How we offer benefits:

  • Specific request forecast
  • Optimize work planning – automatically align the right resources with customer demand
  • Automated absence management – including capturing and compliant storage of documents
  • Payroll automationthrough accurate time and attendance recording using fixed and mobile devices
  • Mobile self-service for employees – allowing employees to book vacations, trade and bid on shifts, access payslips, and more.
  • Real-time analytics and reports – give managers and leaders accurate and timely information to make the right business decisions.

What differentiates UKG:

Our people – that’s what makes UKG different. The UKG slogan ‘Our purpose is people’ is lived by every U Krewer in the company, every day. When Ultimate and Kronos merged, they held the #1 and #2 positions respectively in “The Best Place to Work in IT” awards. The year after the merger, the combined UKG organization ranked No. 6 – something no other merged company had ever achieved. This strong culture and positivity of UKG employees is reflected in the solutions we develop and the services we provide to our customers – more than 70,000 of them worldwide.

We invest more in research and development each year than our top 10 competitors combined. This has totaled over $900 million over the past five years, making our innovative solutions unmatched in the market.

What is special about the platform and your approach?

UKG solutions are designed from the ground up to be cloud-first and mobile-first. These features are especially important in today’s hybrid workplace, allowing colleagues to provide and access information anywhere, anytime.

Real-time analytics and built-in AI and ML deliver unparalleled levels of automation and insight, giving managers actionable contextual data and guidance to avoid performance and compliance issues.

Our combined experience of over 70 years providing industry specific solutions across multiple regions means the depth of solution and service capability is unmatched. We have a ‘Partners for Life’ philosophy, which means our customers have the unlimited training and support they need to succeed.

What benefit does it add?

Our solutions and consulting expertise in retail and other industry sectors means we offer our clients low risk and fast return on investment.

What does a product/service implementation actually look like and how do you measure success?

The steps we will follow for the evaluation and deployment of the solution are:

  • Value Assessment Workshop – UKG retail experts work with the potential customer to assess their current processes, demonstrate future simplified and streamlined processes and quantify the benefits the UKG solution would bring
  • Definition of the scope of work – work with customers to agree exactly on the solution to be delivered, project teams and define success criteria
  • Project launch – where the two teams meet to finalize the project plan
  • Deployment and measurement of milestones – composed of both on-site and remote work as required
  • User training – occurs during the various stages of the project to ensure familiarity with UKG technology, facilitate design, delivery and of course commissioning of the project
  • User acceptance test – prove that the solution meets the scope and requirements
  • go live – with close grip and support to ensure smooth commissioning
  • Transition to UKG Support Team – who will always be available online and on the phone to provide advice and user and technical assistance

The duration of a deployment depends on many factors, including: the size and scope of the project, the number of regions, the modules deployed, the availability of customer resources, etc. Project deployments can range from a few months to several years depending on the scale.

How are retailers using your systems to gain competitive advantage and what do best practices look like? Can you share a case study with us?

For retailers, people are the most expensive, but most vital resource. Every person at every level has a critical role to play in delivering the products and services that delight customers and upset competitors. From central operations to shop floors, retailers need to focus on recruiting and retaining the talent needed to stay competitive, while controlling costs and improving productivity and compliance.

Therefore, solutions that can simplify and automate people-related processes have an important role to play in retail success. By reducing or eliminating unnecessary manual administrative processes, staff have time to focus on a value-added activity, that is, meeting customer needs.

Are there other companies you partner with?

UKG partners with many service and technology organizations to extend the reach and value our solutions can deliver to customers. These include product reseller partners, technology partners, and service/consulting partners. We have over 90 technology partners on UKG Dimensions Marketplace.

Examples of partnership include:

  • Google – who currently provides global hosting for our UKG Dimensions solution
  • Accentuated – that offer global consulting and deployment capabilities

What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2022 and beyond?

Succeeding in retail today requires flexibility, adaptability and resilience – people are at the center. During the pandemic, retailers have had to adapt quickly to ever-changing consumer health, supply chain and shopping behaviors. And this need for constant adaptation will continue as global supply chain issues, talent shortages, consumer purchasing power and shopping habits change.

Technology will play a critical role in giving retailers and their employees the tools and data they need to drive efficiency, flexibility and adaptability. Having a team of people willing to go above and beyond to deliver the solutions and services your business needs to succeed will require your organization to build a culture that puts your people’s experience first. It’s the only way to attract and retain the talent you need, affordably.

This is where people technology can drive benefits by helping retail colleagues feel like a valued and important member of organizations.

What awaits you as a company?

UKG will continue to innovate, develop and deliver solutions that meet the needs of our retail customers today and in the future. Our new “People Operations” suite of solutions and the UKG Talk module, both launching in October 2022, will further enhance the value we can deliver to customers through greater process automation and better communication between colleagues and managers. ‘company.

Our focus will continue to be people-focused – ensuring that everyone in our organization and our customers’ organizations can play their part in building a better future for themselves and their organizations.

A final thought?

I look forward to meeting HR leaders at the RETAIL HR SUMMIT and hearing their stories of challenges and successes. I look forward to meeting everyone in September.

To find out how UKG can help your retail operation, follow the links below.

Website / LinkedIn / Twitter

Contact Neil Pickering

LinkedIn / Twitter

Also meet Neil on September 21 in London at the RETAIL HR SUMMIT: Book HERE

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